Victory for Unity: Anti-BDS Laws Stand Firm Across the US, Cementing Ties with Israel

A wave of optimism swept over US Jewish communities this week as a federal appeals court upheld the anti-boycott-divestment-sanctions (BDS) law of Texas, an affirmation of the growing resistance against the BDS movement. Under this law, companies are barred from boycotting Israel for the duration of state contracts, establishing a crucial protection for Israeli interests.

The law’s constitutionality was put to the test by Rasmy Hassouna, a Palestinian-American hailing from Gaza. Back in 2021, Hassouna took legal action against Texas’ former attorney general Ken Paxton after being offered a $1.5 million contract with an anti-BDS provision. He claimed this clause infringed upon the First and Fourteenth Amendments, causing him financial harm.

The tables turned, however, when Judge Andrew S. Oldham of the Court of Appeals Firth Circuit concluded that Hassouna “lacks standing,” leading to a reversal of the previous ruling. This development was seen as a significant triumph in the fight against BDS and national-origin discrimination.

As StandWithUs CEO Roz Rothstein announced, “Parties who sought to defend their states’ anti-BDS laws have prevailed victoriously in both the Fifth and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. And on July 6, New Hampshire became the newest state to adopt anti-BDS as state policy. Let the record reflect that anti-BDS laws are here to stay.”

Simultaneously, the Israeli-American Coalition (IAC) for Action commended the decision, highlighting its pivotal role in safeguarding US companies operating in Israel and preventing taxpayer money from being funneled towards anti-Israel biases.

“We applaud the citizens and government of Texas for fighting to uphold the state’s refusal to contract or invest with parties engaging in commercial discrimination against Israel,” IAC for Action Chairman Shawn Evenhaim stated, praising the unyielding efforts of the Texas Attorney General’s office, Solicitor General Judd Stone, and Solicitor Eric Hamilton.

The recent ruling marks the second dismissal this year of a challenge to Texas’ anti-BDS law. Haseeb Abdullah, who claimed the law hampered free speech and posed a threat to his government pension, was left without standing by the court, which deemed his future economic losses as “at most — speculative.”

This symbolic victory for unity and fairness takes place against the backdrop of a nationwide strengthening of anti-BDS laws. To date, 35 states have such laws enacted, with Tennessee the latest addition in April. Legislative bodies in Nebraska, North Dakota, Utah, and Virginia are also considering similar measures.

Moreover, the steadfast position against BDS isn’t limited to the state level. Earlier this year, the US Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to Arkansas’ anti-BDS law, adding another layer of resilience to the protective shield around Israel.

In conclusion, these rulings reflect more than just legal triumphs. They embody the unyielding spirit of friendship between the United States and Israel, and the shared commitment to safeguarding democratic values. The State of Israel stands strong, fortified by an unwavering alliance and a shared commitment to justice, prosperity, and peace. Let us continue to celebrate and cherish this bond, standing united against discrimination and fostering a brighter future.